"What makes a community kind? Real kindness and concern require us to understand how the other person came to think and feel the way they do, no matter how alien. Our capacity to see others' points of view is the essence of our humanity," Professor Peter Fonagy, UCL. The Gardens Project is a community initiative to create a new and extraordinary garden on our North Kensington estate, in time for summer. The project will be delivered with the help of leaders in art, design and horticulture, in partnership with Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council. Grenfell Projects funding has enabled us to prepare the designs. We now need to raise the money to implement these. Handmade ceramic pots will be imported, and planted with luscious and extravagant displays of shrubs, flowers and trees, changing with the seasons - with each resident invited to choose their favourite plant for inclusion, so that all the countries of our diverse community are featured and celebrated.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Our estate has become increasingly rundown after years of underinvestment and spending cuts, highlighted by the catastrophe of Grenfell Tower fire, which happened across the road from us, within our community. Our new garden will be accompanied by a website, documenting the creation of the garden, and including films about our residents, and their stories. We aim to create a communal space which lifts all hearts. A place of joy, healing, and far greater social integration and understanding. In developing the project as a community, with support from expert designers, the garden reflects an opportunity for us to influence our built environment, to take pride in our estate, and to learn from one another. Together with our worldclass creative team, we will achieve a unique, permanent piece of art/landscaping.
Steps to get it done:
Our project started back in January 2019, when we discussed early ideas at a residents' association meeting. We assembled a creative team; submitted a funding application to the Council's Grenfell Project Fund; and were awarded £10,000 in February 2020, through a participatory grant-making process, which involved being voted for by 300 North Kensington residents. We are working in close partnership with the Council at every stage. Despite pandemic-related delays, we have completed designs and presented the proposals to our local officers, councillors, and all the estate residents. The delivery of the project is contingent on additional funding; we have been advised that additional Council grants of £33,000 have been ring fenced for us, towards our overall target. We continue to meet regularly with the creative team, who are committed to delivering our beautiful garden.
About the space
Clare Gardens is the entrance of Convent Estate, a community of 350 households in North Kensington. It has upper and lower courtyards.
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
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